Georgetown News
Tayler Godar finished fifth and earned NAIA All-American status in women's outdoor track and field.
Tayler Godar finished fifth and earned NAIA All-American status in women's outdoor track and field.
Women's Outdoor Track & Field - Tue, May 31, 2016

Setting new standards and reaching new goals were benchmarks for the 2016 Georgetown College men's and women's track and field team under new coach Lucas Garnett.

This past Thursday through Saturday expectations were far exceeded for the season when senior Tayler Godar became the first modern era Tiger track and field athlete to earn All-American status.

In the 2016 NAIA Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championship, the Ohio harrier found her stride in the final 300-meters of an 800-meter race to set the stage for her storybook ending.

Friday served as preliminaries for this event and Godar was in the second of three heats. She had a good start, but at the turn for the final lap she was sitting in seventh. Only the top two finishers of each heat as well as the two fastest remaining times advance to Saturday's finals.

The senior kicked it into another gear and began to make her move, but with 300-meters left still sat in sixth.

"My goal was to beat one of our conference rivals," Godar said. "Without having that drive I may not have pushed myself and earned my way into the finals because I wasn't expecting to qualify at all."

On the final stretch, Godar passed three competitors including one at the line for a third-place finish.

"It was very impressive finish and set the first of two personal and school records that day," Garnett said.

She crossed in two minutes, 14 seconds, one-one hundredth of a second, but she had to wait. Godar was not in the top two of her heat so she had to see where her time stood among the other 13 non-qualifiers.

"The heat unfolded exactly how I drew it up in my head and it played out in Tayler's favor," Garnett said. "When she finished I knew she had a really good shot at making it into the finals, but watching and waiting for the official announcement was agonizing. However, when she found out she made it was one of the best moments I've witnessed."

Her time was the second fastest of those not automatically qualifying, giving her the eighth and final spot in the finals.

The championship race was almost identical to the prelims with just a faster pace.

Godar sat in eighth at the 400-meter mark and made her move.

"I was a lot more nervous for finals than I thought I was going to be. With the pep talk from my dad, it made me realize that this is the last race I was ever going to run and I had to give it my all," Godar said. "Coming down the home stretch was filled with tons of emotion and that led me to finish with a time and place that I would have never thought I would be able to accomplish."

She breezed by three competitors in the final 200-meters, claiming fifth place and the speed of the race also helped to set her final school record. She finished in 2:12.16. Heading into nationals, GC's record, set by Godar in the Mid-South Conference championships, was 2:14.33. The prelims trimmed that by 32 hundredths of a second and nearly a two-second drop in the finals.

"Tayler had a fairy tale ending to her career here," said Garnett. "She set three new personal and school records in her final 800-meter races as a Tiger. It has been a privilege and an honor to take what former coach Todd McDaniel started four years ago and continue the plans that were put in place. She worked hard for this and deserves it as much as anyone else. This is a very proud moment for Georgetown College track and field."

She opened up the championships with a run in the preliminaries of the 1,500. Her time of 4:46.66 was good enough for 25th place, but not advancing into the finals.

"It wasn't my goal to race in the 1,500, but it gave me a chance to get my feet wet the first day of the national meet," Godar said. "That race helped me because it didn't really go like I wanted. The pace was faster than what I'd seen all year and caused me to use my kick too soon to try and stay on target. I didn't end up with a time that I was happy with, but I was just going to let that fuel me for the 800."

Her finish there likely sets new standards for all the underclassmen returning next season, looking to be the next Tiger on the national podium with All-American status.   

 
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